FREEDOM of expression is one of our most precious gifts.
The comment was made in a joint statement by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and UNESCO director-general Irina Bokova as the world celebrates World Press Freedom Day today.
"Media freedom entails the freedom to hold opinions and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers, as stated in the Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights," the statement said.
It said a free, pluralistic and independent media was essential for the exercise of media freedom, a freedom essential for healthy and vibrant societies.
Mr Ban Ki-moon and Ms Bokova called on governments, professional media and non-governmental organisations around the world to join forces with the UN to promote the freedom of expression in accordance with international principles.
"This is a pillar of individual rights, a foundation for healthy societies and a force for healthy transformation," the statement said.
The theme for this year's World Press Freedom Day is 'New Voice: Media Freedom Helping to Transform Societies' and celebrates new-found media freedom in so-called conservative communities such as the Arab countries.
"It is opening new ways to communicate and to share information and knowledge," the statement said.
"Powerful new voices are rising, especially form young people ù where they were silent before."
World Press Freedom Day is celebrated on May 3 every year.